Rocktown Revels

Wine & Dine Festival Back In The ’Burg

Posted: August 29, 2013

The Rocktown Wine & Dine festival pairs local and international libations with food from downtown restaurants. (Photo by Courtesy Photo / Brandy Somers)
The second annual Rocktown Wine & Dine festival will be held from 3-8 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Turner Pavilion in Harrisonburg. (Photo by Courtesy Photo / Brandy Somers)
While dining at Clementine, Tim Brady and his “good friend” Aaron Ludwig discussed the possibility of creating a new downtown festival.

For Brady, a former assistant brewer at Cally’s Restaurant and Brewing Company, and Ludwig — the owner of Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint and Billy Jack’s Wing & Draft Shaft — the potential festival’s focus was obvious: beer.

“We started working on it and before we knew it, it was happening,” Brady recalled.

The first Rocktown Beer and Music Festival took place in spring 2011 at the Turner Pavilion in Harrisonburg. An immediate hit, the festival turned into an annual event. The ambitious pair, however, weren’t ready to stop.

“Based on the popularity of the beer festival, we knew we wanted to do a fall [one],” explained Brady. “Something in the same vein, but a little bit different.”

Voilà: The Rocktown Wine & Dine Festival was born.

“We’re really proud of it — we feel that it’s different from most wine festivals,” Brady said.

Now in its second year, the Rocktown Wine & Dine will be held Sept. 7 at the Turner Pavilion. The event offers local and international wines, including those from Italy, France, Spain, Argentina and South Africa.

Brady, who calls wine education “fun,” says professionals from local vineyards will be on hand to answer any questions.

Setting The Table
Ludwig and Brady also found a way to involve local chefs.

“Each wine table is paired with food from downtown restaurants,” explained Brady.

One of the participating chefs, Ryan Zale from the Local Chop & Grill House, says he’s looking forward to the event.

“I’m excited for it and I can’t wait for people to try the pairings,” he remarked.

For Bluestone Vineyard’s Rosé, a dry/off dry wine with notes of watermelon and berry, he’s serving a watermelon and duck fat dish with a feta and olive mousse. According to Zale, who’s “in love” with duck fat, the appetizer matches “really well” with the Rosé.

“It will just elevate all the elements,” he said, adding that the combination will leave tasters with a “clean, summery” feel.

Other restaurants that will be represented include Blue Nile, Beyond, Jack Brown’s and Union Station.

Brady says he appreciates everyone who helps make the festival possible, especially the main sponsors — Bluestone Vineyard and the Downtown Wine & Gourmet shop. Additionally, he credits the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance for helping organize the event.

“For both festivals we work closely with the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance,” he said. “They’re great event planners and a pleasure to work with.”

Contact Katie King at 574-6271 or

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